Last Friday I received a text from my wife informing me that the inspection was overdue on our minivan. We decided a long time ago that things like vehicle inspections are my responsibility in the home. Oops. So I called the garage and got an appointment for Monday morning. I got a little chuckle from the auto mechanic as I left the garage. Evidently he sees a lot of ‘overdue’ stickers there!
So I did what I should have done long ago, I added a reminder into my “Reminder Calendar”. I don’t think I’ll forget again.
The Reminder Calendar is perhaps one of the coolest reminder systems I have ever stumbled across – and it’s super easy to setup and use. Even better, it’s free! This is not to be confused with the Appointment Calendar! I keep them totally separate because I don’t want to store all kinds of ‘reminder’ appointments on the calendar I look at every day for real appointments, like meetings and such. In fact, I never actually look at my Reminder Calendar!
Let me define what I mean be a reminder calendar. Basically, it’s a calendar that is specifically designed to send you very timely emails or text messages.I use my Reminder Calendar to remind me to get up extra early in the morning for a breakfast appointment, change the oil in the car, take the garbage out, check the church website to make sure it’s relevant and up to date, and to remember when a task I assigned someone, or myself, is due. Here are a couple other examples to stimulate your thinking:
- I asked someone if they would draft a proposal for me regarding our online streaming service. My goal was to be able to hear back from him no later than two weeks from that date. So I set myself up a reminder in my Reminder Calendar to shoot me an email in two weeks letting me know that I should have the proposal by now.
- I wanted to find something out from a friend and discovered that he would be on vacation until August 13. So I set myself a reminder in my Reminder Calendar to give him a call around August 15.
- My boss is on vacation and I will be leaving for a few days the day after he returns. I don’t want to forget to ask him an important budget related question before I leave. I created a reminder email for about 9am that morning.
- My boss asked me to give him a call at 2pm while he was travelling on a certain day. I knew there was a chance I wouldn’t be at my desk and I didn’t want to forget to call him. I created a reminder that was setup to text me at 1:55pm so I would remember to make the call no matter where I was at.
- I want to remember to begin planning for the Christmas Eve program no later than June of every year. I created a reminder appointment that will email me on June 1st to get the ball rolling.
HERE’S HOW TO SETUP YOUR REMINDER CALENDAR:
- Log into your Google Account.
Log in to your Google account or create a Google Account for free. It’s important that you associate the account with the email address that you want to receive emails from.
- Go to your Google Calendar.
Once you’ve logged in, select “Calendar” from the top menu of options. This will take you to your calendar, specifically associated with that email address.
- Create a NEW Calendar & label it as your Reminder Calendar.
This option will allow you to keep your primary Google calendar as your appointment calendar. To create a new calendar, click the very small “Add” link in the “My Calendars” section to the left of your screen.
- Enable Mobile Notifications
Once you have created the calendar, click the “Settings” link right next to the “Add” link to take you to your Calendar Settings Screen. Next, click on the “Mobile Setup” tab. Follow the instructions on that screen to associate your cell phone with your Google Calendar. This will give you the option to receive text reminders from your calendar.
- Set the Default Reminder Setting in Your ‘Reminder Calendar’
You are almost finished. Now you should tell your reminder calendar what you want the default reminder mode to be every time you create a reminder appointment. I have mine set to email reminder. This way, all I have to do is create a reminder appointment and it will automatically email me for every appointment. I can still manually go in and disable the reminder or set it up to text me if I want to instead. To do this, click on the little drop-down arrow next to your Reminder Calendar and select “Calendar Settings”. Find the Notifications tab and click the “Add a reminder” link.
- Start Creating Your Reminder Appointments!
You are all ready to go! Now just create ‘appointments’ at the designated day and time that you want to receive your reminder. You can even create recurring reminders for every week, month, or year. To create your reminder simply highlight the appropriate day/time, type in the appointment and press ‘enter’. You just created a reminder appointment set to your default reminder method. To change the reminder method, add additional information, or set the reminder as recurring, double-click the appointment to open it in a new window for updating.
Notes for Newbies:
- Make sure you have the right calendar selected.
Since you have more than one calendar in your Google Account, you need to make sure you create your reminder appointment in the appropriate calendar. On the left of your screen, make sure that ONLY your Reminder Calendar is selected. You may also designate which calendar you want the reminder to be posted to in the appointment details.
- Consider which reminder method you really want.
There are three reminder options. Email, Text, and Popup. You probably won’t want to utilize popup unless you will always have your calendar open on your computer. You WILL want to make sure you designate which method you prefer for your reminders. You may also select BOTH if you want.
- You can also use this same reminder system for your Appointment Calendar in Google.
OK. So you tend to be late for or forget meetings. Simply set a reminder for each of your appointments to send you a text 10 minutes before you’re supposed to prepare to arrive at the meeting.
- Don’t give up.
If you find yourself getting stuck, don’t get frustrated and give up. Like anything new, it may seem complicated at first, until you get the hang of it. Eventually, you’ll figure out how to make the system work and serve you the best.